Education in the Great Jamahiriya

"Education is a natural right for every human being and no one has the right to deprive him of this right."
- The Green Book by Muammer Qadhafi

A country's future is its children. All successful societies have recognized the need to educate their young according to their particular standards. The Libyan Jamahiriya is no exception.

In Libya children are taught to accept their responsibility for the Revolution and the State, because under the revolutionizing thought of the Jamahiriya, the people are the State.

The Revolution's leader Col. Muammer Qadhafi has often made this clear. Speaking to a meeting of the Libyan Teacher's Union in 1978, Col. Qadhafi said that the changes that were being wrought in Libyan society were being carried through by collective, mass action. There could be no such thing as individual action. The achievements had to be made by the entire people, through the people's congresses and committees and through the country's unions.

He stressed that teachers could contribute by doing more than their traditional work in the classroom. They had a duty to go out to the people in circles and groups around their schools and teach and guide everyone towards a better understanding and definition of the unique Libyan revolution.

Col. Qadhafi added: "If every teacher makes a revolution in his own circle, we will find that the Jamahiriya will be well covered with all these revolutionary circles. Similarly, doctors, nurses, agricultural instructors and others need to make such a revolution in their own sectors in the interests of the total transformation of our society."

Outside observers have to remember that for the Libyans, the Revolution only started on 1 September 1969. The theory of the Jamahiriya is that the society shall develop continually, holding nothing sacred except the will of the people.

The Libyan child has to be taught to play his part in this challenge. In most other societies, children are educated simply to accept and obey the dictates of the prevailing order. In Libyan schools and universities, teachers have been charged with the task of giving students the tools with which they will shape their future.

It is only thirty years ago that Libya languished beneath a fog of poverty and ignorance. There has been much educational work to do, not the least of which has been the elevation of women from their menial status of centuries to their full role in society.

Col. Qadhafi said in February 1981: "If this nation wants to win, then it must not differentiate between men and women, since the enemy (of the Revolution) is against each one of us. We must all, men and women, fight in the trenches, do weapons training and fight our enemy. We want everyone to understand that they are living through a phase of political and social liberation."

On another occasion, the Revolution's leader summed up the work of the Jamahiriya's places of learning, be they primary schools or universities: "Education is not a purpose in itself," he said, "The purpose is to create the new man. Specializations can be imported from their origin, but the independent citizen cannot. The difference is vast between specialization and liberty. The cost of the first is money and, of the second, blood."

It goes without saying therefore that education in the Libyan Jamahiriya is free to everyone from elementary schooling right up to university and post-graduate study, at home or abroad. Pre-university schooling is divided into three sections, primary, preparatory and secondary.

Schools are positioned throughout the country. For those people living a nomadic life, there are mobile classrooms and teachers.

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